- More than 67,000 people were seen in ERs in 2009 due to electric scooter related injuries.
- Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by 85%.
Scooters are popping up in cities seemingly overnight, and officials are scrambling to decide what to do about them. San Francisco, Seattle, New York and plenty of cities in between have all dealt with the issue, going so far as to ban what many in the public found to be an easy way to get around town without the cumbersome need to find and pay for parking.
It has been said that the companies who are releasing the mass amounts of scooters to city streets have adopted a premise of “ask forgiveness rather than permission.” Instead of approaching city heads and having the scooters regulated, some companies are dumping the machines on sidewalks overnight, much to the surprise of everyone in the city.
Imagine waking up to see the sidewalk in front of your apartment lined with scooters or arriving at the office being forced to navigate a maze of machinery outside the doorway. Now, imagine a city population deciding to hop on the scooters, even if they’ve never ridden one. It’s a recipe for disaster.
What Is an Electric Scooter?
If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve had to purchase a manual kick scooter for a gift at least once. Now, imagine if that scooter came equipped with an electric motor. That’s the type of scooter that is popping up on city streets around the country.
What has changed is the ability of the public to now get their hands on a scooter without having to buy their own.
Renting a Scooter
If you have a smartphone, you need to do nothing more than download an app offered by one or more of the scooter rental companies. Spin, Bird, Lime and Skip all have apps that the public can download.
Once you open the app, you can find the location of one of the company’s scooters nearest your location. Enter your credit card, scan the scooter’s barcode with your phone, and then take off. You can park the scooter wherever you like when you are done and end your ride through the app.
Riding is Not Without Risk
It may seem that you are only riding on a toy and don’t need to take safety seriously, but hospitals are seeing a surge in patients who have sustained injuries on these electric mobility machines. If you run across a scooter on a city sidewalk and decide to take it for a spin, there are some things you need to be aware of and some safety tips to follow if you want to keep yourself free of injury.
1. Look Out for Grates
Unlike bicycles and mopeds that can ride over sewers and grates with ease, these electric scooters have tiny wheels that can get caught in the spaces. If your scooter gets caught, you could very well end up flying over the handlebars. Avoid sewers and grates if you can.
2. Avoid Damp Roads
Wet roads will make the small tires of the scooters lose traction faster than a bicycle or vehicle would. Avoid riding the scooters on damp roads or during a rainstorm. You’re far safer to walk somewhere or jump in your car.
3. Be Wary of Busy Sidewalks…
If you choose to ride the scooter on a sidewalk, you’re going to have to duck around pedestrians, cracks, holes and pets. You’re also going to get the stink eye. That said, it’s really a catch-22 — do you ride on the sidewalk or do you ride on the road? Neither option is safer than the other, nor less bothersome.
4. …And Busy Roads
If you do choose to ride on the road in lieu of the sidewalk, you’re going to be mingling with vehicles much larger and faster than you. If there is a bike lane, stay in it. If you are passing a row of parked cars, be careful of any driver who may be opening their car door.
5. Wear a Helmet
This tip is a bit difficult to follow, because who actually carries a helmet with them at all times? Virtually no one. It really is the smartest thing you can do though. If you know you are going to be taking advantage of these scooters on a regular basis, you may want to invest in a helmet and toss it in your bag.
6. Stay Aware
The same tips people are encouraged to follow when riding a bicycle or walking down the sidewalk apply to those on electric scooters. Stay aware of your surroundings, put your phone in your pocket and keep your earbuds out. Practice the art of watching the ground in front of you while looking ahead of you. It’s a delicate balance.
Our San Luis Obispo Catastrophic Injury Attorneys are Here to Help
It’s unknown yet whether or not scooters are here to stay. There is also little to no precedence over who is liable for an injury should one occur. Can an injured rider sue the scooter company? Should they only go after the at-fault driver or pedestrian?
It’s murky water to be sure. Part of the issue is that no city has regulated their use in public yet. Once that begins to happen, it may become more clear on who is considered liable in these accidents.
For now, it’s important to know that there is someone you can recover damages from if you have been injured in a scooter accident. There is an at-fault party, and as a team of San Luis Obispo catastrophic injury attorneys, we are here to help you determine who that is.
If you’ve been injured, reach out to our team today to schedule a free case evaluation. You and your family deserve an attorney who will fight for you and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.